Monday morning after a holiday is never the best, and even worse in damp London fog. I walked into my first meeting of the day in Canary Wharf at 8 am, and the usual chit-chat ensued.

Morning Freya. Lovely weather we’re having. So, how was your holiday? Show us your left hand then!”

It’s a running joke of his; every time I come back from so much as a weekend away with my boyfriend of six months, he seems quite convinced I’ll be engaged. Of course I bristled somewhat at the intrusive (if well-meaning) public comment on my relationship, suggesting that perhaps I was in fact engaged, and just didn’t feel the need to wear public symbols of my marital status. He laughed and said that I was a bit too traditional to shun an engagement ring.

Indeed I have no objections to them, even if I’m rather less sure about the idea of “baby rings” – pink and blue diamonds of course. I pass the time on the tube looking at other women’s engagement rings, and wondering about their husbands or fiancés. It’s mildly amusing when the ring doesn’t suit the wearer, and depressing when it’s either absolutely huge (tacky-rich or horribly in debt) or absolutely minuscule (cheapskate).

I don’t care about what title I’m given either – “Ms” seems miserable and more of a footnote in feminist history than something anyone takes seriously. In fact, I tend to insist on being called “Miss”, and correct people on the phone. Only “Miss” confirms that the name it precedes is definitely my name, and my full name is surely a significant part of my identity. Maybe it’s because my last name is German, so it means more than if I were to be called “Smith” and get married to Mr Hill. My father has four daughters, and unless my sister enters a civil partnership and has a baby, it’s pretty unlikely the family name will be passed on – I might keep my own name if I ever get married, but I wouldn’t expect to pass it on to my children.

I just logged into Facebook and was so profoundly disappointed to find that my friend with a very distinctive  name changed it after her wedding. She took a little while about it, and I had started to hope that perhaps she would keep it. Her name was so much a part of her that it was a topic of conversation. It was so long that people constantly abbreviated it into a succession of initials instead, which she was then known by. She was my friend whose father was South African, but born in the Netherlands, and now she’s just my married friend.

2 thoughts on “Should women change their name?

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  1. Had I been married close to 18 or so, I would have. I think at 35, and no prospects in sight, I’ve had my name far too long to give it up now. It’s on too many documents. Sorry future theoretical hubby, my name’s staying put.



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